In the course of human history, sinners, seekers and Saints have come to realise that God is hidden, and that He likes to be sought. From the earliest times in salvation history, people have chosen to leave what they have known and loved, and seek God with all of their hearts.
Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you
In the early history of Christianity, after the Lord’s resurrection, some men and women chose to leave busy towns and cities in exchange for a harsh life in the desert, seeking the presence of the Lord with all of their hearts and attention. It is these desert fathers and mothers which modern monastics try to emulate.
So what is the reward? It is true that by leaving the world, we are left without the consolations of nice food, intimate relationships, careers, worldly success and so forth. But to those who can withstand the barrenness of the desert, and to those who can leave their selfish desires and passions behind and look to the Light, the reward is the Vision of God’s Beauty. This Vision wounds the heart to the Love of God and the heart is changed forever.
If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
The goal of the monk or nun is to Love the Lord. He does not think about himself only. He carries within his heart the burdens, wounds and needs of the world.
The monk begins with loving God. He, who loves the Lord, loves also his neighbor. The monk lives his whole life hurting. He is in pain, wanting to save his soul. This is so, because of his great adoration towards the Lord, because of his divine love. He is also hurting, wanting to save the whole world. This is due to his love for his neighbor.
Elder Paisios the Athonite